A.M. Best Upgrades Issuer Credit Rating of Discovery Insurance Company

OLDWICK, N.J.--()--A.M. Best has upgraded the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating to “bb+” from “bb” and affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of B (Fair) of Discovery Insurance Company (Discovery) (Kinston, NC). The outlook for these Credit Ratings (ratings) remains stable.

The ratings reflect Discovery’s balance sheet strength, which A.M. Best categorizes as adequate, as well as its adequate operating performance, limited business profile and marginal enterprise risk management (ERM).

These rating actions are reflective of Discovery’s recent operating performance results, which have contributed to surplus growth in three of the past five years. Operating income has been derived from significant fee income and to a lesser extent net investment income, partially offset by negative underwriting results, albeit much improved in the current period. In 2016 and 2017, double-digit growth in net premiums written was attributed to targeted rate adjustments combined with increased policies in force that stemmed from the consolidation of competitors in North Carolina.

These positive rating factors are offset partially by elevated net premium written and common stock leverage ratios, and heavy reinsurance dependence as measured by ceded leverage measures that are well in excess of the private passenger nonstandard automobile composite. Discovery’s business model includes ceding 100% of its auto liability premiums and losses (excluding ULAE) to the North Carolina Reinsurance Facility.

Discovery’s business profile is limited as reflected by its product and geographic concentration as a provider of nonstandard private passenger automobile liability and physical damage insurance operating exclusively in North Carolina. The company’s ERM framework is emerging with improvements in both reporting and auditing functions implemented in recent years.

The stable outlooks are based on A.M. Best’s expectation of operating performance remaining in line with the composite while maintaining adequate balance sheet strength despite near-term planned growth initiatives.

This press release relates to Credit Ratings that have been published on A.M. Best’s website. For all rating information relating to the release and pertinent disclosures, including details of the office responsible for issuing each of the individual ratings referenced in this release, please see A.M. Best’s Recent Rating Activity web page. For additional information regarding the use and limitations of Credit Rating opinions, please view Understanding Best’s Credit Ratings. For information on the proper media use of Best’s Credit Ratings and A.M. Best press releases, please view Guide for Media - Proper Use of Best’s Credit Ratings and A.M. Best Rating Action Press Releases.

A.M. Best is the world’s oldest and most authoritative insurance rating and information source. For more information, visit www.ambest.com.

Copyright © 2018 by A.M. Best Rating Services, Inc. and/or its affiliates. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Contacts

A.M. Best
Maurice Thomas, +1-908-439-2200, ext. 5794
Senior Financial Analyst
maurice.thomas@ambest.com
or
Michelle Baurkot, +1-908-439-2200, ext. 5314
Director
michelle.baurkot@ambest.com
or
Christopher Sharkey, +1-908-439-2200, ext. 5159
Manager, Public Relations
christopher.sharkey@ambest.com
or
Jim Peavy, +1-908-439-2200, ext. 5644
Director, Public Relations
james.peavy@ambest.com

Contacts

A.M. Best
Maurice Thomas, +1-908-439-2200, ext. 5794
Senior Financial Analyst
maurice.thomas@ambest.com
or
Michelle Baurkot, +1-908-439-2200, ext. 5314
Director
michelle.baurkot@ambest.com
or
Christopher Sharkey, +1-908-439-2200, ext. 5159
Manager, Public Relations
christopher.sharkey@ambest.com
or
Jim Peavy, +1-908-439-2200, ext. 5644
Director, Public Relations
james.peavy@ambest.com